<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> WorldTribune.com: Mobile Terrorism redux: Pakistan aided, paid in blood for 2007 rebound

Terrorism redux: Pakistan aided, paid in blood for 2007 rebound

Thursday, May 1, 2008 Free Headline Alerts

WASHINGTON Al Qaida enjoyed its safe haven in Pakistan and rebuilt its capabilities since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, a State Department report said.

The report said Al Qaida attacks rose sharply in 2007 due to restored capabilities despite the loss of major commanders. The report also cited a revived network in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Numerous senior Al Qaida operatives have been captured or killed, but Al Qaida leaders continued to plot attacks and to cultivate stronger operational connections that radiated outward from Pakistan to affiliates throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe," the department's annual report on terrorism said on Wednesday.

But the report said Pakistan has also been the main victim of Al Qaida's resurgence. The State Department recorded a doubling of Al Qaida strikes in Pakistan from 2006 and 2007. The attacks were also deemed more lethal as the number of fatalities quadrupled last year.

At the same time, Al Qaida appears to have lost its steam in Iraq. The report said Al Qaida strikes, mostly suicide bombings, in Iraq dropped slightly between 2006 and 2007.

"There was a notable reduction in the number of security incidents throughout much of Iraq, including a decrease in civilian casualties, enemy attacks, and improvised explosive devices attacks in the last quarter of the year," the report said. "Terrorist organizations and insurgent groups continued their attacks on coalition and Iraqi security forces using IEDs, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers."

[On Thursday, a leading Al Qaida commander, Aden Hashi Ayro, was said to have been killed in an air strike in Somalia. At the same time, another Al Qaida regional chief, Isnilon Hapilon, was injured in an artillery attack in the Philippines.]

"It has reconstituted some of its pre-9/11 operational capabilities through the exploitation of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, replacement of captured or killed operational lieutenants, and the restoration of some central control by its top leadership, in particular Ayman Al Zawahiri," the report said.

The State Department concluded that Al Zawahiri has become Al Qaida's "strategic and operational planner." Al Zawahiri, an Egyptian national, has been regarded as No. 2 in Al Qaida.

"The ability of these attackers to penetrate large concentrations of people and then detonate their explosives may account for the increase in lethality of bombings in 2007," the report said.

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